Information for New Families is This Spring!

Here is a collection of FAQ that are common for new families.  We hope that it will help you to find information you are seeking.  If there are questions that are not addressed, feel free to email them to Kevin Trent at

 1. What is the minimum age to join the team?

We do not have a minimum age.  During most summers our swimmers range in age from 5-18.  

2. How proficient must a swimmer be to be on our team?

We do require that swimmers be able to swim a length of the of the 25 meter pool unassisted.  This is a safetly concern that we require so that we know that all of our swimmers can reach the wall from anywhere in the pool.  We do not have a developmental program, so we recommend that swimmers who cannot swim the length enroll in swimming lessons offered at other facilities.  If a swimmer reaches the point where he or she can swim the length of the pool later in the summer, he or she can add to the team at that point.

3. What if my child isn't the best swimmer?  Can he/she still participate?

Of course.  In fact, by definition only one swimmer can be the best!  We have swimmers of all levels in each age group, and our team has a culture that values the contributions of all of our swimmers.

4. What fees are required for my child(ren) to swim?  Can we join if we don't live in Ashland?

Residence in Ashland is not a requirement.  We have swimmers from Rockville, Beaverdam, Elmont, Montpelier, Glen Allen, Mechanicsville, and numerous neighborhoods in Henrico County.  All ofour swimmers must be season pass holders at Ashland's Carter Park Pool, and these rates are less expensive for Ashland residence.  These rates are set by the Town, and information on them can be found at:  Swimmers must also pay team registration fees that will set this spring by our team's Board of Directors.  This fee will include a team swim cap.  Team fees are the same for swimmers regardless of residence.

5. What is the team's policy regarding team suits?

Our team has a suit available at Disco Sports in Henrico.  Our team does not require that swimmers purchase it; however, many- if not most- of our swimmers do.  Disco will have a stand at practice early in the season for families who wish to purchase suits at that time without going to the actual store.

 6. What are practice expectations?

We expect our swimmers to attend practice whenever they can.  We do realize, however, that prior to the end of school, many evening events may make this impossible.  We also understand that during the summer, many swimmers may attend camps or religious events or go on vacation.  Nearly all of our swimmers miss a practice here or there.  We do ask that if swimmers are going to miss several days of practice in a row that you let us know so that we can account for them.   

7. When are practices?

Prior to school ending, practices run from 4:30 to 7:005.  Specific times for specific ages are listed on the website home page.  When school ends, we will run three hour-long practices beginning at 8, 9, and 10 AM.  Older swimmers will practice at 8 with the youngest swimmers beginning at 10.  See the home page for specific times for your swimmer(s).

8. How often are the meets?

We will have 6 dual meets.  Meets are once a week beginning on June 15.  The first five meets will be on Wednesdays.  The sixth meet will be on Tuesday, July 19.  If meets are postponed because of inclement weather, they are usually held the next night.  A championship meet is held on July 30-31, and it is open to swimmers who achieve qualifying times established by the league.  

9. How long do the meets last? (Do last they really last until midnight as rumored??!?)

Meets begin at 6:00 with a mandatory warmup period that begins as early as 5:00.  Most meets are completed by 11:15 unless interrupted by thunder.  Most of our younger swimmers are done by 8:45 or 9:00.  In recent years, the league has taken some steps to address the lengths of the meets, so they do tend to end earlier than they did 5 or 10 years ago.  

10. Are the younger swimmers expected to stay until the end?

Most of our 8/under swimmers are done by 8:45 and leave at that time.  Some parents have their families stay for some or all of some of the meets to give their children the experience.  Swimmers ages 9/older will be at the meet longer and in some cases until the end.

11. What is the weather policy at meets?

The league requires us to make every effort to complete meets in one night; however, sometimes this is impossible.  No meet can be postponed prior to its start time of 6:00.  After the meet begins, the home pool's staff is in charge of weather delays.  At Ashland, our guard staff requires the pool deck to be cleared with swimmers and families returning to their cars for at least 30 minutes.  Every sighting of lightning or sound of thunder after this extends the time by 30 minutes.  If a storm is extended, parent representatives from each team can decide to postpone the meet until the following night.  We keep our families updated during storms using a texting tree.

12. Can we miss a meet?

Yes.  Of course.  We do ask that you notify us well in advance of absences that you anticipate- vacations, camps, etc.  This makes it much easier to prepare our team line up.  Obviously there will be last minute cancellations, and for these, we ask that you notify us if you can as soon as you can.

13. Who are the coaches and what are their backgrounds?

Our staff has been quite stable over the past few seasons.  Our head coach is Kevin Trent, our assistant head coach is Alan Rosenberg, and our assistant coaches are Jenny DesRoches Yonce and Curran Henry.  This year we will have a full time substitute coach- Meade Reihl- as well.  Among the staff, there is over 40 years of coaching experience at Ashland alone.  Several of our coaches have also worked with other summer league teams in other parts of the state as well as high school teams in Hanover County.  Three of the coaches are or were full time educators.  Additionally Jenny, Curran, and Meade are all former Barracuda swimmers themselves.

14.  What are the coaches' philosophy?

Our coaches have been consistent with their expectations for many years.  We certainly want our swimmers to have a good time within our program, and we believe that nearly all of them do.  We also, however, expect our swimmers to uphold the standards  we set for them.  That means displaying discipline and upholding responsibility.  We hold our swimmers accountable for behavior and sportsmanship, and we hold all of our swimmers to the same standards regardless of ability or time on our team.  Additionally, we believe that, as coaches, we know the best practices and policies for our team as a whole.  

15. What is the parent commitment to volunteer?

Volunteerism is a necessity for any little league sport, and ours is no exception.  Our team has been blessed with willing parents since its inception.  Parents are expected to provide at least one volunteer for 1/2 of each meet.  Volunteer opportunities include those of meet officials, which require league certification, to those like runner, set up/take down, or concessions worker that require no experience at all.  Most new families tend to have volunteer jobs that require little or no training!

16. Do you have a non-competitive program?

We do not offer a non-competitive program.  All ofour swimmers are expected to participate in meets.

17. Does your team offer swimming lessons?

Our team does not offer swimming lessons.  As stated above, we expect all of our swimmers to be able to complete the length of the pool prior to participation. 

18. How do swimmers qualify for the championship meet?

The league sets qualifying standards for swimmers in each age group in each event.  A swimmer who achieves a qualifying time is eligible to compete in this meet.  Our team does charge an additional fee for championship qualifiers to help defray our team's costs for the meet. 

19. Will my swimmer get a trophy automatically for participating?

No.  Our team is based on intrinsic motivation- participating for the love of swimming itself.  We do provide each team with a plaque and year plate that can be updated each year of participation.  

20. When are awards presented to swimmers?

Swimmers can receive ribbons earned in meets after completing their first practice after each meet.  Year plates and plaques are presented at our team banquet in late July.

21. Does your team present special awards like High Point or Most Improved Swimmer?

Our team only has one special award for swimmers- the Jamie Hess Sportsmanship Award.  It is awarded to one boy and one girl each year based on exhibition of exceptional sportsmanship- and without regard to age, ability, or time on our team.  We also provide an award- the Ron DesRoches Award- to a parent in commemoration of years of parental support for our team.  Information on both awards can be found by clicking on the Awards link.

22. Where can I find other information?

We have our team handbook linked to our website.  It includes lots of more specific information about our team.  Also feel free to email Kevin Trent at 

22. Are there fundraising requirements?

Our team does participate in fundraising; however, there is no minimum requirement for families as is in the case in some sports.  We also have a team philanthropy- the Jamie Hess Fund- named in memory of one our swimmers.  We have a fundraiser for this fund on June 23.  For more information, click the link for "Swim Marathon".

23. When is the deadline to join?

We actually add swimmers throughout the summer.  We can enter swimmers in the next meet after their registration at any point during the season.  However- no swimmer may compete until he/she has a Carter Park season pass.